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"It's rare I grant interviews at just anyone's request," he said amid the haze of pot smoke. "Most either hate me or deny my very existence. My reputation has worsened this past century." 

In a last minute scramble to finish my homework, I had called upon the assigned topic -- drug addiction -- and suddenly, like a thief in the night, he appeared. My back to the wall, I slowly slid toward the floor and sat frozen with fear. 

I felt somewhat at ease when he insisted I make no attempt to hide the joint cupped firmly in my hand. Somehow he knew about my daily habit of getting stoned, and he affirmed my right to do so.

"Are you really who I think you are?" I hesitantly asked. 

"That all depends on what you believe," he answered. "Some say I'm a lack of willpower or a loss of responsibility. Many view me as an allergy. There are those who accept me as an illness, or even worse, a disease. I try to be neither. I am a friend to those who numb their minds in an attempt to escape living life on life's terms."

The voice of this mysterious creature sent chills racing up my spine. There were moments he spoke as softly as a child; other times he howled like a hungry wolf. 

"My teacher said you were wicked, cunning, baffling, and powerful," I said. "Why would you wish to hurt so many?"

"Hurt so many?" he bellowed. "You ask it as if I choose victims at random I never show up uninvited. I'm a first-rate act with pride in my skills. Believe me, I have better things to do than waste my time with those who refrain from the use of drugs."

"How can I be sure you're not going to make a mess of my life?"

"Look, I deliver only what's expected of me. No more, no less. I've always kept up my end of the bargain. Nothing feels better than having millions of people dependent on me and what I have to offer."

"Why are you so certain people want what you have to offer?" 

He chuckled loudly. "Because they beg me to change their lives and bring them joy, happiness and warmth. This I do. But in return I expect to be rewarded for the beautiful experiences I give."


"The deed to their minds for an eternity. My very existence feeds on taking control and embracing drug users as my own children, but they must live by my laws."

I thought about my best friend who had fallen victim to this ungrateful beast. He nearly died from an overdose before cleaning up his life. 

"What about Bobby Roberts?" I asked, firing up another joint. "He got clean and never again has to worry about being bothered by you."

"Oh, but that's where you are wrong. Bobby Roberts has been forewarned. I'll never tire of tracking him down. One little slip and his life will be worse than ever before. It's more difficult to quit drugs once you've returned to them again. My strength increases as each person fights. I will do everything to retain what is rightfully mine."

"What weapons do you have that those in recovery don't?"

"Withdrawals, urges, dishonesty, boredom, peer pressure, loneliness, anger and denial. And let's not forget many have such short memories. They usually let down their guard and actually believe they can get high one last time. That's when they least expect me."

Recalling a recent article about a young girl who ended her life after unsuccessfully quitting drugs, I asked if he had known her.

"I recall every relationship I've ever had. That particular girl could never deal with the darkness of depression she fell into. I remember the first time she smoked a cigarette, got high on marijuana, drank her first beer and snorted her first line of crank. Why, I can still see her face the last time she fixed heroin.

"It wasn't any fault of mine she dropped out of school, lost her friends, was banished from home and turned to a life of crime. She got more than she bargained for. I'll miss her for a while, but there will be others to take her place."

"Do you ever see a time when you may grow old and die?"

Shaking his head, he roared with laughter. "My friend, I have been around since the beginning of time. People, families, governments, and entire countries have fallen at my command. It would take an entire world to stop me in my tracks. An entire world free from drugs. It's not wise to underestimate me. I am Addiction and I plan on being around until the end of time."

As I crushed my last joint into the ashtray, he vaporized into thin air. All that was left was the odor of pot and the vision of an uncertain future. Tomorrow, I promised myself, I would begin to take charge of my life without drugs. I didn't want to take that chance that Addiction would become my best friend. - Gary L. Somdahl


addiction movies, alcoholism movies and movies about recovery 



Basketball Diaries (1995)


Crazy Heart (2009)


Clean and Sober (1988)


The Fighter (2010)


Flight (2012)


Home Run (2013)


Leaving Las Vegas (1995)


The Lost Weekend (1945)


My Name Is Bill W. (1989)


Requiem for a Dream (2000)


The Rose (1979)


Tender Mercies (1983)


Trainspotting (1996)


When a man loves a woman (1994)


28 days (2000)

Songs of Recovery

Recover – Natasha Bedingfield

Not an addict – K’s Choice

Sober – Pink

Starting Over – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Sober – Kelly Clarkson

Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park

Straight Lines – Silverchair

Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Girl You Lost to Cocaine – Sia

Patient Resources //

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